Civil society and the struggle for land rights for marginalised groups: the contribution of the Uganda Land Alliance to the Land Act 1998 | Land Portal

Informations sur la ressource

Date of publication: 
janvier 2000
Resource Language: 
ISBN / Resource ID: 

The 1998 Land Act represents one of the most important pieces of legislation in Uganda, which is predominantly an agricultural country. The role of a consortium of NGOs, The Uganda Land Alliance (ULA), is analysed in this paper, with regard to the enactment of the Act. The issues addressed include:

what the ULA's objectives were and the land issues it tackled
how original the ULA was
how significant the issues (and therefore clauses) addressed were to the protection of rights of the marginal groups
how the ULA advanced its case and the limitations and strengths of its approaches
what the lessons are that can be drawn from the struggle of the ULA to the theory of civil society

The paper is written in four sections:

the first examines the objectives of the ULA and the issues it dealt with. A brief history of the evolution of land tenure is given to flesh out the issues that animated the land debate. In addition, the technical background to the land bill and its early critics is described.
the second, examines the methods the ULA used to lobby for land rights of the poor
the third examines the contribution and failures of the ULA and provides reasons why this was so
the fourth relates the experience of the ULA to current notions about civil society and democratic governance

The author concludes that the ULA contributed in raising the awareness of the public. The author reflects possible long term consequences of that consciousness rising will empower those who suffer the brunt of bad policies to act to change them. However, the author notes that the ability of organisations such as ULA to push for democratic governance is dependent on the political and economic context.
The author outlines the limitations of civil society and its influence on state policy, suggesting thatcivil society organisation registered with the state can only contribute reformist programmes to the governance of the country. The author believes that as long as pluralism is circumscribed by laws that prohibit freedom of association and the right to dissent, civil society organisations acting within the framework of the law can have only a limited contribution.

Auteurs et éditeurs

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

N. Bazaara


Fournisseur de données

eldis (ELDIS)

Eldis is an online information service providing free access to relevant, up-to-date and diverse research on international development issues. The database includes over 40,000 summaries and provides free links to full-text research and policy documents from over 8,000 publishers. Each document is selected by members of our editorial team.

Partagez cette page